Disaster Response in Rural and Small-Town Areas

Greetings! My name is Pastor Jim Daub, and I serve St. Paul Lutheran Church in Havelock, North Carolina. I have had the joy of being the pastor here for almost 18 years. On Sept. 13, 2018, our city was hit with the major brunt of Hurricane Florence. It was absolutely amazing to see the power that is in a hurricane. We sustained almost 36 hours of downpouring rain, and steady wind speeds of about 50–60 miles per hour, with gusts upwards of 100 miles per hour. Our community has about 20,000 residents, and a major air station for the United States Marine Corps. However, we are the only LCMS church within an hour in either direction. 

We truly became an island unto ourselves. Many of the roads were either washed out, flooded, or had power lines and trees across them. It was a great challenge for people to get basic necessities, as well as items to help clean and muck out their homes. Many people did not think to have these supplies on hand because Hurricane Florence had been downgraded from a Category 5 storm to a Category 1. The problem for many was that they did not heed the warning and became complacent in the days leading up to the storm. That complacency ended up hurting many people.

We were very blessed to become an unofficial distribution center for supplies for our community at that time. It began with a load of 1/3 of the supplies from an Orphan Gran Train truck that was being loaded in St. Louis while we were in the midst of the storm. In addition to distributing the supplies from Orphan Grain Trian, I had the opportunity to work very closely with a county commissioner who called me each day to say what items he had available and to see how much of it our church family would be willing to accept to hand out to others. We didn’t have major resources to begin with, being such a small parish, but the Lord was able to use us in a very mighty way.

I look forward to the opportunity to share with you more of my experiences of being in the parsonage during the storm, how we were able to share the love of Jesus with others, and what things we learned to do and not to do in the event of another storm that might hit our coastal area. I invite you to join the webinar live on Feb. 13, or listen to the archived recording.

Contributed by Rev. Jim Daub, pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Havelock, N.C.

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